Saturday, 4 June 2016

Dubai Street Shopping : My First Camera

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera"
-Dorothea Lange.

The death of a royal-family member of Dubai in January 2009 cut our five day holiday trip to half. The delay in our visa processing left my family with no choice but to take the two days halt in Dubai while on our way back to Tanzania from India.

My family, just like everybody else's was torn between shopping and sight-seeing. My mother wanted to go to the gold souk in Deira that has over 300 gold stores. That place is one of a kind! It showcases and sells some of the finest jewelry designs in the world. I, on the other hand, wanted to buy a digital camera. The idea of being able to see the image captured on a digital screen was fascinating to me. The age of clicking photos until the camera film was full and then developing photographs was slowly fading away. Luckily, I was able to convince my father that our family needed a camera upgrade.

My father has always believed that I am capable of doing much more than what is expected of a girl my age. He casually told me, as if it was no big deal, to go look for a camera on the streets of Dubai, on my own! Well, I had my younger sister with me but I was supposed to take care of her so that does not count. The instructions were clear. We had to go to the electronic stores and look at digital cameras, understand their features and note the prices, and he would come pick us up after two hours. This was the time when neither of us owned a mobile phone and we were in a completely different country altogether. I was terrified. Although it wasn't the idea of being kidnapped that scared me, it was the notion of talking to shop owners. I had my doubts about how they would respond to two young girls who were camera shopping without any money or more importantly, a parent by their side. I was surprised when we were received with respect and no one made fun of us. Everyone helped us with the information we needed. As promised, two hours later my father picked us up and we took him to the shop that had the camera we liked the best. I wanted a touch-screen digital camera, but the shopkeeper told my father that it was not 'user friendly'. I am pretty sure I did not understand what user-friendly meant at that time.  I tried to argue but in the end we went with my second choice which was the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300.

There are very few moments in your entire life that tend to stick with you till the end and I knew that this was going to be one of them. As soon as I was back from my trip, my camera became an instant 'hit' at the school events and many of my friends started asking me to take their photos. I happily obliged.

In the beginning, I used my camera mainly to take photos of my family and friends. I had no idea about my camera's full potential until I came to college. My passion for photography grew in college and I took great efforts to understand the basics. I am still learning many of the technical aspects. The simplicity of it has motivated me and made my life better. I am glad to be able to share my photos with friends through my Facebook photography/blog page 'The Shutterbug Life'.

My first camera has been a close friend. I have used it in extreme conditions like in the Holi festival in India (without a cover!) and while lying on the beach during summer camp. At the moment, my seven year old camera looks like it might need a little fixing or maybe a new battery. I will have to get it checked. I am sure it will be great again. Hopefully it will continue to be my handy companion for many more years to come and help me capture the memories I wish to cherish forever. This blog post seems like the perfect tribute to my companion, my first camera.


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